Communication and Language Development
When it comes to communicating, language is another area where autistic people can develop differently.
- Some autistic people acquire language really quickly, but sentence structure can be all over the place. Yoda type speak not uncommon is. This may be less noticeable in more fluent speakers.
- Some struggle to acquire it, and don’t always have the words to express themselves.
- Some autistic people have no spoken language at all. This does not mean they are not capable or competent. There are lots of ways to communicate other than spoken word – sign, Makaton, PECS, text.
Some people worry that using other methods of communication mean their autistic child is less likely to verbalise – there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case. People, autistic or not, are more likely to use their voice if their communication preferences are valued.
Not being able to express yourself is really difficult, so if an autistic person can communicate - regardless of their method - value that and let them crack on signing, using PECS or any other way they choose.
- Many autistic people take language very literally. This doesn’t mean we can’t understand when people allude to things, or use metaphors or similes, but we might picture them in our heads. This can make us giggle or feel uncomfortable so be aware how visual many autistic people are, and that those images may end up pretty real. It helps when people use language clearly.
Another thing to remember is that all behaviour is communication. This goes for everyone, autistic or not. How someone is acting will tell you as much about how they are feeling as their words, sometimes more. If the autistic people in your life are behaving in a way that you find strange, pay attention – they could be trying to tell you something.